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NCAA WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT

Tennessee Wins Thriller

March 31, 2004|From Associated Press

NORMAN, Okla. — Tasha Butts scored in the lane with 1.7 seconds left Tuesday night to lift Tennessee past Stanford, 62-60, sending the Lady Vols to the Final Four for the third consecutive year.

Butts, guarded on the left block by All-American Nicole Powell, spun to her right and threw up a right-hand shot, which banked off the glass and fell through. Two nights earlier, Butts made two free throws after a disputed end-of-game call to lift Tennessee (30-3) past Baylor.

"It's unbelievable," Butts said. "The whole season, we've been put in situations like this and it always seems like I have the ball in my hands. I'm very confident I can make a play for our team."

Stanford (27-7) then set up for the final shot, with Powell catching a long inbounds pass on the right wing, turning and shooting a three-point attempt. The ball bounced off the rim and out, and Powell exhaled in disappointment.

Stanford players and coaches questioned whether she was fouled during the shot.

"I felt like I was fouled a lot of times tonight," Powell said. "It's the NCAA tournament, and that's the way it is."

Powell led Stanford with 31 points and 10 rebounds, but was the only Cardinal player in double figures.

Tennessee will play Southeastern Conference rival Louisiana State in the Final Four on Sunday.

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